Explore specialist advice

Explore Specialist Advice is the national provider of the following services:

  • Behaviour Support
  • Parent education and support programmes for families who have a child or young person with a diagnosis of autism.

These programmes are funded by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and are free to eligible people, their families and support people.


Behaviour Support

If you or someone you care about or support is showing signs of challenging behaviour, Explore Specialist Advice can help.

People who have an autism diagnosis and are presenting with behaviour that is challenging are eligible for this service.  If you wish to access this support then contact your local NASC to discuss your situation. All referrals to our behaviour support service must be made by the NASC.

In order to best meet the individual needs of people referred to our service we have developed a range of service options comprising an Early Intervention Pathway and a  Behaviour Support Pathway.

Early Intervention Pathway

At Explore we know how important it is to provide support to children and their whanau as early in life as pos

sible. Through this pathway we support parents/caregivers to further develop their awareness and skills children in positive parenting, so that they can to become confident and capable parents. to develop skills in positive parenting. Explores focus is on enhancing the support we provide to children who have developmental behaviours that are of concern for their parent/caregivers. We refer to this as our early intervention pathway.  The early support provided to family/ whānau and their support networks aims to help parents/caregivers to use positive parenting strategies to prevent the escalation of problem behaviours.

Our early intervention pathway offers various forms of behaviour support to suit the individual needs of your family/ whānau.  Our behaviour specialists utilise ‘Stepping Stones Triple P’ resources; an evidence-based programme which equips parents of children with disabilities with the skills and confidence to be self-sufficient, and to be able to manage family issues without ongoing support.

Behaviour Support

We will do a comprehensive assessment so that we can understand the reasons for the behaviour and determine what support strategies are most likely to be effective in supporting change and improved quality of life.


What does this involve?

  1. Assessment – we will with the person and the other people directly involved in their lives to understand the experiences of the individual and the broader social and physical context in which the behaviour occurs.  The focus of the assessment is on understanding the factors that make the behaviour more and less likely to occur as well as considering the individual and wider support team’s capacity to make informed and planned changes.
  2. Keeping everyone safe – where there are immediate safety concerns we will work with you to develop a safety plan. The safety plan provide guidance on what to look for and how to respond with the aim of minimising distress and keeping everyone safe.
  3. Developing and implementing a behaviour support plan –the behaviour support plan focuses on addressing underlying factors, seeking to create physical and social environments that are supportive and capable of meeting the person’s needs and teaching the individual new skills to replace the behaviours that challenge

Explore’s autism programmes

Eligible families can self-refer directly into these programmes by:

  1. Calling 0800 000 421 and asking one of our team to complete the referral for you.
  2. Emailing Explore to request information and a referral form:
  3. Ask someone to do this for you e.g. Service coordinator at NASC,  Developmental/autism coordinator

ASD Plus

This programme is available to parents, family/ whānau and caregivers of a young child  (aged 0-6 years) with a diagnosis of autism.  The programme supports participants to better understand the way in which their child thinks, learns and experiences the world.  It aims to introduce participants to a range of practical strategies that support positive interactions and skill development.

The programme comprises 7 sessions, covering the following topics:

  • Introduction to autism
  • Understanding my child’s communication
  • How my child senses the world
  • My child’s learning style
  • Stress, anxiety and routines
  • Understanding behaviour
  • Managing into the future

Teen Life

The Teen Life programme aims to empower parents and supporting professionals to understand more about how autism is experienced by autistic teenagers. It creates opportunities to discuss useful strategies and share ideas to support people with autism through their teen years.  Parents/caregivers can elect to have a professional accompany them in the programme but this not compulsory and is restricted to one person.  It is available to parents and care givers of a young person aged 10 and 15 years, who has an autism diagnosis.

The programme comprises 6 sessions, covering the following topics:

Session 1

•       Autism in teenagers

•       Hidden presentation in women and girls

•       The autistic perspective

Session 2

•       Understanding your diagnosis

•       Understanding intense interests

•       Managing expectation

Session 3

•       Self-esteem

•       Spending time with other people

Session 4

•       Puberty

•       Independence skills

Session 5

•       Stress and anxiety

•       Understanding behaviour

Session 6

•       Education

•       Planning for the future



If someone you care about or support is showing signs of challenging behaviour, Explore Specialist Advice can help.

Explore is the national provider for Autism Spectrum Disorder behaviour support.

Our services are tailored to the individual needs and goals of the people we support. Depending on their age and needs, we support people in one of the following ways:


  • Early intervention: supports children and young people with early stages of challenging behaviour and their family/whānau and support networks. The support focuses on enabling the child or young person to remain in their home, school and community environments.


  • General behaviour support for children and young people: focuses on people whose challenging behaviour has a significant impact on their life. We involve wider support networks in the home, school and community in our behaviour strategies.

For referrals please email


Need More Information?

We are autism specialists and can provide you with trusted information for free. Our research and information team are available to answer any questions you have about autism.

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